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It really was a remarkably wonderful accident. I had never thought that a plane ticket round-the-world could be bought for three hundred dollars. But sometimes things happen ever so rightly, and you find yourself suddenly, perfectly, with the Golden Ticket.
With my Golden Ticket, I left New York’s JFK to explore Budapest, Prague, Paris, Bangkok, Iceland, and Spain, in one month. In other words, in four weeks, I traveled four seasons. How on our earth do you pack for such a journey?
Four Weeks, Four Seasons, One Bag
Written by: Sarah Cash
After leaving Bangkok, I wanted to shout a few choice words as I walked outside Helsinki’s airport. I never knew that teeth chattering could be so loud! With the exception of that frigid moment, however, I was extremely well prepared for my trip. Before leaving I had thought about layering, fabrics, and comfort. What fabrics would pack without wrinkling, would regulate my body temperature appropriately, and equally as important, would look cute together?
Thus, packing was surely a mental exercise far more than a physical one. Once I had compiled all my clothes in my head, I started laying them out on my bed. Some didn’t make the bag, but those that did proved their mettle wear after wear. They didn’t wrinkle*, kept me warm or less sweaty as needed, and often surprised me with their ability to make outfits that even Kate Middleton would admire.
So, I know you’re dying to know, what clothes ended up in my outrageously spacious bag?
I wore riding boots, a winter jacket, and a few long sleeve tops with jeans or pants in Europe.
In Bangkok, a summer sweat-wicking dress with leather sandals became my favorite outfit, which I switched out with jean shorts and some of the same tops I wore in Europe.
In Iceland, I preferred layers of silk, wool, and a wind/water-resistant jacket, paired with leggings and the one pair of jeans that I had packed.
In Spain, I switched out jeans with ballet flats and a leather motorcycle jacket, with pants, short sleeve tops and a scarlet bomber.
The most shockingly versatile items I wore, by far, were two knit dresses I had packed. I could wear turtlenecks underneath them, or leather jackets over them, or both. I could wear them with or without tights, and/or with boots. They were light enough for Bangkok, and when suitably layered, chic and warm enough for even the Paris Opera! I strongly encourage every one of you to bring knit dresses on your next trip. They will astound you with their practicality, beauty, and cost-per-wear.
After dipping in and out of a year’s worth of seasons in one month, I challenge you to inspect your closet with a gimlet-eye. What do you picture wearing while strolling the beaches of Mallorca? Of those outfits, which ones could work when you head for some skiing in the Alps?
Mix, match, dream, and play. Your closet just might surprise you. With the exception of a pleated skirt….I had thought that pleats were basically wrinkles, so surely such a skirt wouldn’t wrinkle! WRONG!
1 pair of jeans
2 pairs of pants (1 black, 1 python-print)
1 sweat-wicking summer dress
1 pair of jean shorts
2 skirts (1 white pleated skirt, 1 black mini-skirt)
3 pairs of tights and 1 pair of leggings
1 short sleeve beige turtleneck
1 long sleeve striped shirt
1 turquoise peplum tank
2 button-downs (1 white, 1 emerald)
1 pair of waterproof pants and 1 waterproof jacket
3 jackets (1 black motorcycle, 1 scarlet bomber, 1 blue winter coat)
5 pairs of shoes (2 flats, 1 pair riding boots, 1 pair sneakers, 1 pair sandals)
This isn’t a carry-on packing list but the clothing selections are well-thought out, versatile, and practical too!
What are your best tips on packing for a four week trip?
For more packing tips and ideas, please read:
- Plus Size Packing Tips: How to Rock a Carry-on Wardrobe
- Capsule Wardrobe: The Secret to Packing Light
- How to Pack for a Trip Around the World
- What Shoes to Pack for Long Trips
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Sarah Cash recently graduated with a degree in Intercultural Relations and decided there was no better way to gain experience in her field than travel. To find out what she’s up to, head to thecashodyssey.com and follow her on Facebook.
I know what you mean about figuring out what to pack. Right now, I’m traveling in all warm climates, which was much easier to pack for than the trip discussed here. If you can chase summer, you can bring a lot less in your bag 🙂 Good luck finding your ideal list!
Good post. I haven’t quite worked out my ideal all-season packing list yet, but I’m close! I think I have the items right, just haven’t worked out ideal fabrics yet for each piece. On a recent trip, my whole personal style changed as a result of trying to carry as little as possible yet feel comfortable in everything I wore. I found I would alternate between two general outfits, but of course those outfits would change depending on the climate.
I find that I always end up wearing them same things over and over too which makes it so much easier to pack less 🙂